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Author Topic: Pseudopod 451: The New Arrival  (Read 4323 times)

Bdoomed

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on: August 15, 2015, 06:34:30 AM
Pseudopod 451: The New Arrival

by Miranda Suri

The New Arrival” was first published in Electric Spec, Volume 5, Issue 4 November 2010

Miranda Suri writes speculative fiction, teaches anthropology at Queens College, and goes on archaeological adventures that would make Indiana Jones green with envy. When she’s not curled up with a good book at her Brooklyn apartment, she can be found indulging one of her hobbies, which include exploring New York’s culinary scene, practicing Pilates, and traveling the world. Miranda’s fiction has appeared in publications such as Fictionvale, Penumbra, Every Day Fiction, and Electric Spec. Her story The Firefly Girl (Penumbra 2014) was included in Tangent Online’s 2014 recommended reading list. Her blog is at mirandasuri.com

Your narrator – Rock Manor is a voice actor specializing in audiobook narration and audio plays. His voice work has been featured on multiple horror podcasts and programs. He currently produces the horror audiobook web series and podcast, Manor House. You can follow him on twitter @ManorHouseShow. Web series episodes can be found on YouTube at youtube.com/RockManorHouse. Podcast episodes can be found on iTunes under Manor House: The Podcast.



I stood in line at the grocery store with my mother, ignoring Simon as he pawed through the carnival-bright offerings on the candy rack. Suzette, the check-stand girl who sometimes babysat for us on Friday nights, ran the items across the scanner.

“What great news, Mrs. Waverly,” Suzette said. “You must be so excited!”

Simon finally settled on a chocolate bar and held it up to our mom, his eyes eager. Watching my older brother, his ten-year-old body twice my size but his mind still years behind, I felt something between pity and disgust.

My mother took the candy bar and slid it onto the belt. Her other hand held mine.

“I know,” she responded. “We’re thrilled! We didn’t want to say anything until we were out of the first trimester.”





Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


ElectricPaladin

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Reply #1 on: August 15, 2015, 09:07:29 PM
Wagh. Ugh. Brrr...

That was great. Super atmospheric, creepy, and horrible. I loved it.

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adrianh

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Reply #2 on: August 16, 2015, 09:22:33 AM
Nicely done. I was expecting one outcome. Got another. I love being wrong ;-)



robert.reed.auth

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Reply #3 on: August 18, 2015, 01:44:37 AM
One reason I love short fiction is that it usually comes with a twist ending. I love that, look for it and try to guedd what that will be before I get there, and I was wrong. I love being wrong. Surprising, yet all the clues were there.



CaroCogitatus

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Reply #4 on: August 18, 2015, 03:34:38 PM
I often finish an episode and make a mental note to comment on it here, but I'm driving and there's a new podcast starting and by the time I'm at a computer it's slipped past in the jumble of things to be done on a daily basis. It's telling that this one I'm actually commenting on.

It stuck with me hours later. The multiple levels of tragedy --
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
-- really hit me in the feels.

Superbly creepy and disturbing. Well done.



Miranda Suri

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Reply #5 on: August 20, 2015, 03:52:57 PM
Hi All! Thanks so much for giving the story a listen. Makes me so happy to know you enjoyed it, and that you found it disturbing (but in a-hopefully-good way!). Props definitely go to Rock Manor for doing such a great job narrating  :)

- Miranda Suri



Maxilu

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Reply #6 on: August 20, 2015, 08:12:35 PM
Yeah, there's a reason I don't like kids.

That being said, every child I've ever known who's obtained a younger sibling has been thrilled at the prospect. The creep factor absolutely began when Jack was less than thrilled.

I'm not really sure what I want Simon to do after the end of the story. It adds to the whole creepiness of the story.

Well done! And don't ask me to babysit. Ever.



Millenium_King

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Reply #7 on: August 21, 2015, 05:45:13 PM
This one was good, but it was a close one.  The 1st and 2nd Acts were utterly predictable.  The standard "child hates the new baby" trope - something I have experienced and seen rarely.  I think fiction has a tendency to overblow this common fear.

However, the third act makes up for it.  Well done.

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clashingcolors

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Reply #8 on: August 22, 2015, 09:04:21 PM
Even within the seemingly limited "older sibling dislikes new baby" trope, this story worked really well for me. I loved that I had an inkling of where this was going but didn't know how exactly the author was going to seal the deal. Listening a second time revealed that everything, down to the very last twist, was telegraphed well in advance. Great work!



FeloniusMonk

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Reply #9 on: August 23, 2015, 06:38:10 AM
Fantastic. For me the true horror is in the closing sentences and the extrapolation I jumped too - what next? what about the poor parents?



Unblinking

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Reply #10 on: August 25, 2015, 02:45:16 PM
I'm surprised that some are calling the "older sibling dislikes baby" element a trope, or overused.  There are some things that show up in stories because they're common in real life, and that's one of those things.  I think most kids come around to the new sib sooner or later, but especially in that first year while the infant is breaking the parent's sleep up and making them be zombies, and there are round the clock feedings, and everyone's giving all their attention to the newcomer, there is lots of potential for jealousy.  A parent who is on top of their game will probably think ahead about this potential and try to offset it as much as possible by finding ways to make the older kids feel special--in those cases maybe there are less hard feelings, through added effort on the parents.

I saw the body-swap thing pretty early on--I didn't think it was too obvious necessarily, but there were ample clues.  I had an inkling of how it might end, I'd gotten an impression from the brother's reaction to the baby that violence might result.  The most tragic thing about the whole thing is that, even though the brother with the information from this narrative is probably killing a parasitic monster, he will be seen as killing an ordinary baby.  A developmentally-delayed child is tolerated, a developmentally-delayed child that has killed a baby is going to have a very hard life.

This story was very well done, I thought.



Kaa

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Reply #11 on: August 31, 2015, 05:20:48 PM
This is the best story Pseudopod has run in a while, as far as I'm concerned. When it started, I absolutely knew exactly where it was going. I was curious why, on a horror podcast, the reader was using such a . . . light-hearted tone, since I absolutely knew exactly where it was going.

Holy cow. I had absolutely NO idea where it was going! And when it went there? The reader's tone changed, and the entire atmosphere of the story changed and the creepiness factor went out the roof.

Holy cow.

More! More like this! :)

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

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Uncanny Valley

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Reply #12 on: September 02, 2015, 07:55:34 PM
Really, really enjoyed this.  I thought it was one of the best for a long while, as well.  I picked up on the body-switching when the 'reset' reference was made, but still didn't know how it would play out.  Very well done, and horrific in all the best ways!  I thought the narration fit perfectly, and I liked how he changed voices without the voices sounding affected.  That's something I don't hear being done well often.



Airotciv

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Reply #13 on: September 07, 2015, 05:44:33 AM
I loved this story!  They got it right with this one.  I listened with baited breath from start to finish, and the ending was truly a surprise.  Bravo to the author especially, and the narrator.  The boyish, maturity of his voice really captured the character essence.  The pacing was perfect.
    No words were wasted here.

I would have liked this story to end with the satisfaction of hearing the older brother take his revenge on the being that kept body hopping, but still it was so very, very well done. 


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Whaletale

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Reply #14 on: October 19, 2015, 08:40:17 PM
This was fantastic!!! I was completely set up to expect one thing, and was blown away when the sudden realization of the truth dawned on me moments before it poured out of the narrators mouth. Completely chilling and crazy! Great pick, Pseudopod!!